Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beaujolais Nouveau

Fritz at the Washington Post has a VERY VERY extensive list of Beaujolais Nouveau parties. Go here to see them all:

I put my top picks from his list below.

Worth trying to get into to:

Bistrot du Coin's Beaujolais Nouveau Party
When: Wednesday night, 11 p.m.
The Scene: This is usually the wildest and most crowded of the area's Beaujolais Nouveau events. As midnight draws closer, tables are cleared to make room for a dance floor, and by the end of the night, women are boogieing on zinc-topped bar.
Who Goes: French ex-pats and Francophiles, from 20-somethings to 70-somethings.
Free Wine? Yes. Two varieties will be given away, beginning at midnight, and you can drink as much as you like.
Entertainment: DJ Herve, who spins house, electro and French pop music at many of the Alliance Francaise's parties, will start after 10.
Getting In: This is the tricky part. Dinner reservations, which guarantee you a spot at the party, are long gone. If the restaurant is under its legal capacity by the time the party kicks into gear (usually around 11), people waiting outside will be allowed into the bar area on a first-come, first-served basis.

Les Halles's Beaujolais Nouveau Party
When: Wednesday night, 9 p.m.
The Scene: Les Halles's annual celebration is less crazy that Bistrot du Coin's, but still a good time. It draws a good mix of wine lovers, from 20-somethings on up, many of whom have dinner first.
Who Goes: Francophiles and oenophiles.
Free Wine? Yes. Several varieties are generally available for sampling. Don't miss the free tripe, too, which is apparently traditional in southern France.
Entertainment: A DJ spins French tunes and pop music, beginning at 9.
Getting In: This party is generally easier to get into than Bistrot du Coin's, though early arrival is suggested, and reservations (made through Open Table) can't hurt.

The French Wine Society's Beaujolais Nouveau Time
When: Friday Thursday night, 8:30 p.m. - 3 a.m.
The Scene: The French Wine Society is taking over the stylish new Park at 14th restaurant and lounge for its tasting party, which features French DJs and a fashion show organized by Barney's Co-Op.
Who Goes: The society's parties -- generally held at tony places like the French Embassy or the National Press Club, draw a European crowd that's firmly in the 30s-and-40s demographic, dressed in cocktail outfits (lots of jackets and ties, fellas).
Free Wine? Until 10 p.m., so get there early.
Entertainment: Expect French electronic dance music and lounge tunes.
Getting In: It's open to everyone. Advance tickets are $20 ($15 for French Wine Society members) from

Top Ranking Beaujolais Nouveau Party at Napoleon
When: Thursday night, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
The Scene: DJ Meistro's weekly mix of Afropop, Latin funk, Brazilian beats and crazy breaks regularly draws cool crowds to Napoleon's chic basement champagne lounge. This week, they add wine specials to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau.
Who Goes: Anyone who loves funky music and a good party, from hipsters to Europhiles.
Free Wine? No. $5 a glass. But at least there's no cover charge.
Entertainment: DJ Meistro. See above.
Getting In: No cover, no dress code, no problem. Just be ready to dance and enjoy yourself.

Alliance Francaise Wine and Cheese Party
When: Friday night, 6:30 - 9:30 p.m.
The Scene: The French government's cultural representatives to Washington have been getting younger and hipper this year, thanks to events like the Soiree Carte Blanche happy hour series. This annual wine-and-cheese affair draws a good mix of people to the group's headquarters in a converted Kalorama rowhouse -- between sipping wine in the library and a DJ in the living room, it feels like a catered French house party.
Who Goes: A Francophone mix of ex-pats, students from the Alliance's language classes and Americans who studied in Paris in college.
Free Wine? Included in the cost of the ticket, along with French snacks.
Entertainment: Singer Simone Marchand performs favorite songs by the legendary vocalist Edith Piaf, and DJ Stylus spins a soundtrack of French and European pop, hip-hop, soul and Afrobeat tunes.
Getting In: Open to all, tickets cost $33 for the general public, $26 for Alliance Francaise members and $21 for students in the Alliance's language classes. Reservations must be made in advance through the Alliance Francaise Web site -- there are no sales at the door.